Can You Get Pregnant from Precum? Precum Pregnancy Chances 14

Continuing with our exploration into pregnancy probability statistics, let’s start with situations involving precum (also known as pre-ejaculate). “Can you get pregnant from precum?” and “does precum contain sperm?” are pretty common questions in the chances of pregnancy realm. This because the pull-out method is both one of the oldest and most common forms of contraception. This isn’t because it’s exactly reliable (we’ll get to just how reliable it is a in a second), but because it’s free and it’s supposedly easy.

First off, what is precum and what’s it for?

Pre-ejaculate is a clear liquid that proceeds ejaculation in many cases. The amount of precum a man releases varies greatly, and he has absolutely no control over that release. It’s thought that the purpose of precum is to reduce the acidity of both a man’s urethra and a woman’s vagina as sperm do poorly in high-acid environments. It may also act to aid in lubrication.

Does precum contain sperm?

Surprisingly, there are very few studies on this subject. The few that do exist (I’m talking less than five) also don’t agree. A few studies (link for one, two, and three) found precum contains no sperm at all, but in the most recent study done in 2011, 37 percent of men produced samples that contained motile (capable of causing pregnancy) sperm. The number of sperm in these samples did vary, but for the most part was well below the quantity found in actual ejaculate. These men had urinated prior to sample collection.

Quick answer:

As the jury is still out, so to speak, most reputable sources will state that, yes, precum can contain sperm. That sperm may not be eliminated by urination.

What are the chances of pregnancy with precum?

The only data on this topic assumes vaginal sex (meaning it may not apply to things such as “grinding” or other situations where there was no penetration) in couples under 35. Unfortunately, there is also no data as far as by-the-act statistics, i.e. the chances of becoming pregnant from a single act involving only pre-cum. So, what do we know?

precum pregnancy chances can precum get you pregnant

A review in 2011 done by the Office of Population Research at Princeton University found with perfectly timed “pulling out” or the removal of the penis prior to true ejaculation 4 of every 100 couples (4 percent) will become pregnant within a year. As the pull-out method also leaves a high chance of error (not pulling out fast enough), the overall rate of pregnancy in couples who only use the pull-out method is 22 out of 100, or 22 percent, within a year.

A study done in 2002, also by the Office of Population Research, along with the Guttmacher Institute, broke that down into slightly shorter time frames with 7.8 percent becoming pregnant within 3 months, 11.3 percent by 6 months, 18.4 percent by 12 months (less than the estimate in 2011). This study didn’t separate “perfect use” from just average practice where lots of folks make mistakes.

If you average that all out to a monthly basis, you get around a 1 to 2 percent precum pregnancy chance as a likely statistic for a one-time incident during any given month.

Quick answer:

Chances of pregnancy from precum vary from about 4 to 22 percent assuming frequent intercourse over the course of a year. A single act likely holds a chance well below this.

This ignores intercourse timing, a topic we covered in part one of this series on pregnancy probability statistics if you missed it. You might also enjoy our pregnancy probability quiz.

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14 thoughts on “Can You Get Pregnant from Precum? Precum Pregnancy Chances

  • Anonymous

    I had a hook up with a girl (one time thing) and I did not finish but am worried that pre-cum may have a chance. I know that it says it is more like 1-2% but she is on birth control with no days missed and it was 2 weeks before her ovulation period. She has an irregular period and had missed it frequently once up to 9-10 months since she works out and lifts heavy weights. Just wondering what the chances of it happening are and if there is no period what can that potentially mean?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Well, the chances of pregnancy with the pill are about 1-3%, the chances with precum alone are under 4%. On the pill you don’t ovulate, that’s part of the pills job. Her lack of periods are a good sign that it’s effective for her as well. In my opinion, it’s very, very, very unlikely she’ll become pregnant.I can’t, of course, give you a for sure statistic, I’m not a probability generator, but I’d put it below 1%.

  • Juan

    Small help so i messed around with my girlfriend just rubbing my penis on her vulva i almost kinda penetrated in her vagina but i didn’t and i had some precum of course but her ovulation was 8 days ago. any chances of pregnancy ? thanks

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If she ovulated 8 days ago, no, the egg would be long dead by then and her next ovulation would be too far off.

  • Juan

    Hey so my girlfriend went to the ER and made her take a pregnancy test. They prescribed her with antibodies and Ibuprofen because she has abcess and pain. But she told me she overheard that hopefully she’s not positive. She got me a bit worried but me and her always have safe sex (pullout and condom simultaneously) and also I assume she’s not pregnant because they prescribed her medicine. So Should I be worried? Is the hospital pregnancy test even accurate? Her period is supposed to come in a few days her last period was on April 2. Thank you

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Most antibiotics can be taken while pregnant. Ibuprofen is also ok, so no, the prescription itself isn’t enough to rule out pregnancy. I’d imagine they would have told her if her results were positive though. If it was several days before her period was due, then yes, it would also be possible to get a false negative (more likely with a urine test than a blood test). The goods news is if you’re using condoms and pulling out, the chances of pregnancy there are extremely low either way. I wouldn’t worry about it unless her period doesn’t show.

      • Juan

        Well good news she got her period on May 2 and she still right now But it’s very light she said so hopefully it’s not implantaion bleeding. Thanks

  • cookieeboo

    Had a period from the 2nd started with spotting heavy flow on the 3rd now on the 4th am spotting. Could that be a sign of pregnancy

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sometimes a lighter than usual period can be a result of pregnancy, but it’s less common than just a regular light period (which are normal on occasion).

  • Brian

    Hello I have a small question. Before me and my lady had protected sex , we were fooling around and while I was touching her down there I noticed this like a cloudy white colored boogerish texture. It wasent see through at all and it was very sticky. I did some small research and read it’s her ovulation period. If it’s very white and thick texture she’s infertile. If shes very wet and have egg white discharge she’s fertile. Just need some clarification thanks 🙂

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      While aroused discharge is normal and can vary from woman to woman, to determine fertility she would need to pay attention to her discharge on a daily basis or cycle timing can also be effective to estimate ovulation.

  • Juan

    Hey there I’m just worried about if precum can leak out of the condom during sex? I say this because while changing poses during sex I saw a white substance (looks like sperm) near the base of the condom and it was alot. I also read that the penis can sweat and also combined with the lube form the condom makes that egg white substances but I’m still not sure if it’s true. Also The condom was well fit not loose nor tight but I’m still worried since there was a lot of movement. Thanks!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I’ve never heard of lubricant being the cause, but female discharge depending on the timing of the intercourse within your cycle can appear white and creamy similar to semen. Assuming he knows he didn’t ejaculate, that’s a likely explanation. If he did ejaculate, it’s possible it was semen, more so if he continued to thrust after ejaculation. Precum shouldn’t leak anymore than semen would (less so because precum is often less copious).

      • Juan

        Oh I forgot to mention two things Sorry 🙁 but there was no ejaculation at all and the white substance was inside the condom near the base . But Im sorta over it since I’m not having any symptoms lol thank you for the advice